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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

The Ink Spot: 1922

The Ink Spot: 1922

Washington circa 1922. "Government Printing Office, restaurant on top floor." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

 

Got that right

Doninva is absolutely correct about Wilson and the segregation of the Federal Civil Service. Its probably difficult for some folks to realize, but the Republicans were the party of racial justice (if not equality) up to and including the modern era. It was Eisenhower who sent up the first Civil Rights Act since Reconstruction, who sent troops into Little Rock to enforce integration, appointed Earl Warren to the Supreme Court that in turn caused the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education.

One can see the evidence of Wilson's segregation in the photos that Dave puts up on Shorpy. Amazing.

Separated at Brunch

Until 1913 there was some level of integration within the civil service. After a stream of Republicans in the White House, Woodrow Wilson, Democrat and native Virginian, at the urging of the Southern members of his cabinet, segregated the civil service upon taking office in 1913. The Southerners were appalled that a black man could be a supervisor of white men or, even more appallingly, of white women.

Whether or not they ate at the same tables prior to 1913, segregation made a giant leap under Wilson's administration. Though many regard the former president of Princeton University as a liberal and forward thinker, he brought with him to the White House segregationist and racist baggage.

Black and White

It looks to be segregated. Black folks seem to be all on the right side of the room. Does anyone know the government's policy back then? I don't think the Army was integrated until after the second world war.

Telephone cable

That's what's running through the loops. It's the same suspension method they used between poles outside. Curious that they used that indoors. Nowadays they would lay it in the trough that all the conduits use.

Count ye columns while ye may. . .

Amazing! Even in 1922 the Feds labeled every column in a room. I work in a federal building now and every column is numbered. The number is used for navigation for work on the mechanicals and for guiding lost guests.

The "stuff" running through the loops appears to be an electrical line or it could be a phone line.

Messenger Cable

The upper line (with the loops) is a messenger cable. They are used to provide support for less robust cabling. These are probably telephone cables.

Mystery Line

Anyone know what that is running through the loops that look like a long fishing pole on the right?

Hummmm!

No relation to the singing group, but what a great name for a restaurant at the GPO!

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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